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In terms of performance it almost goes without saying that the EX-FH20 is pretty impressive, although it's a bit slow to start up and shut down again, taking a little under four seconds for either operation. However in single shot mode at full resolution it can shoot very quickly, managing a frame every 1.3 seconds. I've already covered the camera's remarkable performance in its various continuous shooting modes.
As usual with Casio cameras the autofocus system is very fast, and operates very well in low light or at longer zoom ranges, although like many zoom cameras it has some problems coping with both low light and extreme magnification. The camera has a bright green AF assist lamp with a range of about two metres for shooting in very low light conditions.
Image quality is generally good, but there are some significant problems. The lens is quite good, producing good edge-to-edge sharpness and plenty of detail, but it does suffer from slight barrel distortion at wide angle, and quite visible chromatic aberration especially towards the corners of the frame. Exposure can be a bit hit-or-miss, with a tendency to over-expose in high-contrast or back-lit scenes, and the focusing could have been a bit more accurate too. However the main problem is image noise, which is plainly visible even at 200ISO, and is a major problem by 800ISO. The picture quality at 1600ISO is terrible, and wouldn't even make a good small print.
The FH20 is a very versatile camera, but as is often the case with hybrid or multi-purpose gadgets it doesn't do any one task particularly well, when compared to dedicated single-function products. It can shoot HD video, but not as well as a camcorder; it can take still images, but not as well as other recent super-zooms. Even its party-trick high-speed capabilities are eclipsed by its own stablemate the EX-F1, or the slightly cheaper FC100. It's a nice camera to use, but is that enough?
While the Exilim EX-FH20 is an attractively designed and well made camera with superb handling and outstanding performance. It has some almost unique features, and although the high-speed continuous shooting is great for action photography, the 1000fps video mode is little more than a novelty. Image noise is also a major problem.